The Obama campaign, eager to make it known that it's responding forcefully to the new Swift-Boating book by Jerome Corsi, is jumping on a John McCain moment today where he appeared to sidestep an opportunity to condemn the book and its multiple falsehoods about Barack Obama.
Asked by a reporter today to comment on the book, McCain said: "Gotta keep your sense of humor," before his aides whisked him away.
That prompted Obama spokesperson Tommy Vietor to launch approximately a dozen tactical nukes in McCain's direction:
"The old John McCain used to boast about honorable politics, while the new John McCain finds Roveian smears funny. Honor is not a laughing matter. What does John McCain think is funny about an intolerant smear artist who called Pope John Paul II senile and claims the government lied about 9/11? McCain has said he wants to run an honorable campaign, but his belief that these smears are funny makes people question whether he now approves of the same reprehensible politics used to smear his own character eight years ago."
The point that bears repeating here is that in 2004, McCain did condemn the Swift-Boating of John Kerry, which Corsi also had a big role in. Also, McCain has claimed he wants the current campaign to be "civil."
But McCain has looked the other way when his own surrogates have questioned Obama's patriotism and American-ness, and his campaign has even endorsed these attacks. And now the same tactics that McCain condemned in 2004 are apparently just some gag that we should all have a good laugh over.
McCain campaign advisers, too, are declining to condemn the Corsi book. This morning, we asked the McCain camp if Corsi's tactics have a place in a campaign McCain himself says he hopes will remain "civil." No answer yet.
Late Update: The Associated Press reports that a McCain spokesperson is claiming that he didn't understand the question. But AP adds that the McCain campaign has no comment on -- or condemnation of -- the Corsi book.